7 votes

Australian government backs down on banning Milo Yiannopoulos in face of backlash

7 comments

  1. [7]
    mrbig (edited ) Link
    Many people think free speech is an absolute right, but in a democracy no right is absolute. I cannot publish a new Harry Potter book without authorization, and neither can I knowingly divulge...

    Many people think free speech is an absolute right, but in a democracy no right is absolute. I cannot publish a new Harry Potter book without authorization, and neither can I knowingly divulge false rumors that disgrace the life of an innocent person. In Germany, any Nazi propaganda is prohibited — with good reason. Not even the right to life is absolute, otherwise, there would be no one to fight wars and protect my country. Free speech is relative to all the other rights that must also be upheld. Milo Yiannopoulos is a professional polemicist that thrives on controversy. His opinions are nothing more than juvenile, closeted Neo-Nazi statements made to shock his opposition and strengthen the admiration of his brain dead followers. He brings nothing to the table but does have a knack for provocation.

    That said, I'm not versed in Australian law, but the notion of judging someone's "character" before allowing them to enter the country seems a bit subjective.

    7 votes
    1. [6]
      Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
      This applies to all entrants to Australia, from tourists to immigrants. At least it's a step up from requiring everyone to be white and speak English! (Ah, the good ol' "White Australia"...

      Nevertheless, I'm not versed in Australian law, but the notion of judging someone's "character" before allowing them to enter the country seems a bit subjective.

      This applies to all entrants to Australia, from tourists to immigrants. At least it's a step up from requiring everyone to be white and speak English! (Ah, the good ol' "White Australia" policy...)

      As for freedom of speech, we have laws against certain types of hate speech here in Australia. Primarily, it's illegal to offend, insult, humiliate or intimidate another person or a group of people if the act is done because of the race, colour or national or ethnic origin of the other person or of some or all of the people in the group. Some of what Milo Yiannpoulos has said elsewhere would be illegal here.

      5 votes
      1. [5]
        mrbig Link Parent
        We have similar laws in Brazil, to which I'm in total accordance. I just find the concept of "character" extremely subjective and prone to selective enforcement, but I also don't know Australian...

        We have similar laws in Brazil, to which I'm in total accordance. I just find the concept of "character" extremely subjective and prone to selective enforcement, but I also don't know Australian law one bit, so I suppose it is possible the actual text contains more objective criteria defining "character" in its context. Is the section you linked the reason Yiannopoulos was not going be allowed in the country?

        1. [4]
          Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
          No, Yiannopoulos' rejection was based on subjective criteria. Basically, the government decided he's a trouble-maker. The last time he was here, there were protests outside his event which ended...

          No, Yiannopoulos' rejection was based on subjective criteria. Basically, the government decided he's a trouble-maker.

          The letter [to Yiannopoulos] noted Australia had the power to block someone from entering the country if there was a risk that person would "incite discord in the Australian community or in a segment of that community".

          The last time he was here, there were protests outside his event which ended up requiring police intervention. It's too much trouble to have him here, so why should they let him in?

          4 votes
          1. [3]
            mrbig Link Parent
            While I think banning this guy is entirely justifiable, I think subjective precedents are very dangerous to a democracy.

            While I think banning this guy is entirely justifiable, I think subjective precedents are very dangerous to a democracy.

            1 vote
            1. [2]
              Algernon_Asimov Link Parent
              If banning Yiannopoulos is justifiable, then you're agreeing with the subjective decision to ban him. ;) I lean towards the point of view that a government should have some control over who enters...

              If banning Yiannopoulos is justifiable, then you're agreeing with the subjective decision to ban him. ;)

              I lean towards the point of view that a government should have some control over who enters its country. We should not have totally open borders. Why would we want to import trouble when we've got enough home-grown trouble already?

              1 vote
              1. [2]
                Comment deleted by author
                Link Parent
                1. mrbig (edited ) Link Parent
                  While I agree that this particular application of the rule is favorable to certain values I hold, in the long run I think subjectivity in public policy should be reduced to a minimum, and the...

                  While I agree that this particular application of the rule is favorable to certain values I hold, in the long run I think subjectivity in public policy should be reduced to a minimum, and the Racial Discrimination Act that you shared is a good example on how to address such issues in a more explicit manner. Thinking a single consequence of a policy is positive does not prevent me from worrying about its misuse in other cases.

                  In other words: by all means, ban dangerous Neo-Nazis, just create better legal justifications in order to do so. This would also avoid banning/unbanning people like that, which doesn't look good.